I had a quick response to today’s blog about the new technology that Dow Chemical is using to track TIH railcars. In that blog I commented that this technology might enable us to do away with placards on TIH railcars; this would reduce somewhat the risk of a terrorist attack on those cars. A sharp reader, Gablehouse, made the following comment:
- “Only if you can be certain that rural responders can actually receive electronic notices. We are a long ways away from reliable electronic communication for this purpose in the rural West.”
Gablehouse has a very good point, and it is not just out west that rural areas suffer less than adequate cell phone coverage. I know from personal experience that there are many places in the rural South that suffer from the same problem, though it is not as wide spread as it is in the inter-mountain west.
One possible solution would be to require TIH train cars and trucks to carry an emergency radio that would start a low-power broadcast on a selected frequency to warn first responders of leaks, pressure build-up, or even tampering with tank closures.
We need to come up with some method of removing these tank markings from TIH shipments that does not compromise first responder safety at an accident or incident. Markings like these on TIH rail cars and over the road tank wagons make it easier for potential terrorists to identify high-value targets.